Five Things You Should Know About New Jersey’s No-Fault Personal Injury Laws

By Greg Kohn

When you are injured in a traffic accident, your first inclination may be to file an insurance claim or a personal injury lawsuit against the driver who caused the car accident. However, New Jersey is a no-fault insurance state for motor vehicle insurance. In no-fault insurance states, traffic accident victims may or may not have a claim against a driver who caused the crash. Before you begin the process of seeking compensation for your traffic accident damages, you may want to discuss your legal rights and options for recovery with a New Jersey personal injury attorney.

Facts About New Jersey No-Fault Insurance

  1.     You are required to purchase PIP insurance coverage.

You must purchase Personal Injury Protection (PIP) insurance coverage as part of your car insurance policy. The minimum amount of PIP insurance coverage you can purchase is $15,000. However, if you choose a standard insurance policy, you can purchase $250,000 or more in PIP insurance coverage.

  1.     You must file a claim against your insurance coverage regardless of fault.

PIP insurance coverage applies regardless of fault. If another driver causes the traffic accident, you still file your claim for medical expenses under your PIP coverage. Your PIP coverage also pays some of your lost wages, but the amount is limited and based on the policy you purchased.

  1.     You can sue the other driver if you choose the unlimited right to sue option for your car insurance coverage regardless of the severity of your injury.

You can sue the other driver for damages not covered by your PIP insurance if you opted for the unlimited right to sue option when you purchased your car insurance policy. Your lawsuit can seek compensation for all financial losses not covered by your PIP insurance. You may also seek compensation for non-economic damages such as:

  • Physical pain and suffering
  • Emotional distress
  • Mental anguish and suffering
  • Loss of enjoyment of life
  • Scarring and disfigurement
  • Permanent disability and impairment
  • Loss of companionship
  1.     You may have the right to sue even if you choose the unlimited right to sue option.

Many drivers choose the unlimited right to sue option when purchasing car insurance coverage because it costs less than the unlimited right to sue option. However, you may still have the right to sue the at-fault driver for compensation for your pain and suffering damages (non-economic damages) if the accident resulted in:

  • Loss of a body part
  • Displaced fracture
  • Significant scarring or disfigurement
  • Permanent injury
  • Loss of a fetus
  • Death
  1.     The limited right to sue option does not apply to economic damages.

If you choose the limited right to sue option when you purchased your vehicle insurance policy, you do not lose the right to sue an at-fault driver for economic damages. You may sue the driver for damages, including lost wages and medical expenses that are not covered by your PIP insurance policy.

Contact a New Jersey Personal Injury Attorney If You Are Unsure of Your Legal Rights

New Jersey’s no-fault personal injury laws can be very confusing. Do not rely on what an insurance adjuster tells you regarding your legal right to sue an at-fault driver for damages. Schedule a consultation with our New Jersey automobile accident lawyers today to discuss your options for recovering compensation for damages after a motor vehicle accident.

About the Author
Greg Kohn is a partner at Nagel Rice and specializes in complex civil litigation cases, including professional malpractice, personal injury, class actions, wrongful death, products liability, and commercial litigation.  He has extensive experience representing clients in both state and federal court. Greg has tried many jury trials to verdict and has recovered over $50 million in settlements and verdicts in all types of personal injury matters including automobile accidents, wrongful death cases, slip and falls, and other catastrophic injury cases. Greg also handles medical malpractice cases, involving misdiagnoses, wrongful birth, and delayed cancer diagnosis. If you have questions regarding this article, you can contact Greg here.